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Book club disagrees with Carolyn’s advice
First Published Jul 19 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jul 19 2014 01:01 am

Dear Carolyn • I almost always agree with your advice, or don’t strongly disagree, but this is an exception (bit.ly/2hrMove), about moving two hours away for a husband’s promotion. What’s the big deal? Nine of the 11 members of my women’s book club said of course they would move. Of the dissenters, both are caring for ill family members. Three of us have moved to support our husbands’ careers and one husband has moved to support his wife. In this day of Internet communication, this is nothing. To her question of whether she’s overreacting, our response is, absolutely.

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Dear Moving • Here’s why I disagree: I have moved, a lot. I have a career I love. So does my husband. I have young kids. I have worked from my home and from an office. I have worked from home while having small kids, with both in-home and center-based child care. I have lived in extremely welcoming communities; ones that took a little time to break into; and one where the flippin’ neighbors didn’t even wave hello. So, I don’t have any one experience or bias coloring my answer. The question touched on (1) Career; (2) Child-rearing; (3) Community; and (4) Marriage. It is absolutely perverse to me that one consideration among these four would get some kind of automatic pass as the thing this person should value, and therefore agree to. This move might be a no-brainer to your book group, but someone else could rightly say the whole point of jobs and kids and marriage and etc. is to root oneself in a community that provides support, companionship, laughs, whatever else. Being two hours or even a split-the-baby one-hour drive from this community is so emphatically not the same thing. It means you can’t grab a 15-minute cup of coffee, or reciprocate kid care, or do any such minute community transactions. It means you can have dinner once a month, maybe, but please can’t we agree that’s very different from living right where you want to be? And so the only people who get to decide which of the Big Four to prioritize are the couple in question. That was my advice in the original column, and I stand by it.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




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